When will the English language be reformed?

Mark   Wednesday, February 26, 2003, 22:01 GMT
cmhiv, I'll give you a quick lesson.

realise, realize
organise, organize
specialise, specialize
theorise, theorize
recognise, recognize

cmhiv   Thursday, February 27, 2003, 00:11 GMT
Duly noted, but you just wasted your time.
Jack Doolan   Thursday, February 27, 2003, 00:17 GMT
With a bit of luck British spelling and grammar will never be reformed. It's a fundamentally bad idea. Who should care if the citizens of the USA spell words differently from most other English speakers? Doesn't matter.

What is offensive is the attempt to impose US spelling on every one else, or vice-versa. Most forms of English are mutually comprehensible now and are likely to remain that way for a very long time as a result of exchange of TV programming and books.
Jim   Thursday, February 27, 2003, 00:37 GMT
... but to be fair there are a couple of words which are always spelt with "-ize": "prize" & "size". Then there's "guise", "thighs", "buys", "cries", "pies" ...

I've checked a couple of dictionaries and it seems that you are right, Mark, "becoz" fits the generally accepted pronunciation in Australian, British & American English. Maybe, it's only I who pronounces the word /b..ko:s/. I concede defeat.

Mark, you don't like "dh" but don't you think that it's a problem using "th" for two different sounds? How esle would you distinguish between "thigh" and "thy"? Some have suggested keeping "th" for /D/ (the "th" in "the") and using "tth" for /T/ (the "th" in "thin"). I don't like this idea: there are too many letters and there is no logical pattern. The reason they suggest this is to maintain continuity but the reason they made /T/ "tth" is that /D/ is more common than /T/. It's not a good enough reason for me. I prefer using "dh": this refects the voiced pronunciation.
Mark   Thursday, February 27, 2003, 01:21 GMT
What about the below spellings.....

'thy = thigh
thy = thy

Just add a point before the t, so it become a 't.

Infact I believe we should start using letters like é for the pronunciation of a capital e.

é = E
e = e

pet = pet
fét = feet
leter = letter
léter = litre

So instead of using two ee's, just add a point at the top. And do the same with U, O, and A.
Jim   Thursday, February 27, 2003, 01:43 GMT
I have to press shift to get an apostraphe on this stupid machine. I don't like the idea of using puncuation to represent pronunciation: it's got its use elsewhere.

You write "just add a point at the top" as if it were that easy. How did you do that? I don't think that most people could be bothered adding dots and dashes all over the place, not that I think that it's entirely a bad idea, just that it's a lot of trouble.

Why not just add a few letters top the alphabet?
Stan   Thursday, February 27, 2003, 04:00 GMT
Jim, this is for you. Spelling reform is insane. It would only benefit people for whom English is a second language.(no offense to English as a second language folk) Also I guess it would benefit the illerate. I have learned a second language (German) and had to learn proper spelling of those words. Spelling is the easy part, it's the grammar structure that bites you in the ass.

Kind Regards
Jim   Thursday, February 27, 2003, 06:41 GMT
"the illerate" ... the who?

Maybe it would mostly benifit people for whom English is a second language but there would be some benifits for the rest of us too. Imagine never having to wonder "Is this how it's spelt?" Imagine never having to look things up in a dictionary just to find out how to spell them. We all make spelling mistakes, even you, Stan. I wrote "apostraphe" above, for example. Wouldn't it be nice to have a simpler system. Sure, it might all be a watse of time. It might even be insane, like you say. Maybe we'd be better off sticking with what we've got warts and all but it's interesting to explore different alternatives.
Stan   Thursday, February 27, 2003, 06:47 GMT
I had a feeling that would happen. When I start running my mouth and don't read what I'm typing. Perhaps some form of shorthand might be helpful. Something that could be used perhaps here. You never know.

Kind Regards
Simon   Thursday, February 27, 2003, 07:23 GMT
It's unenforceable. And unnecessary. We all manage fine and would English be more or less interesting if it had regular spelling?
mjd   Thursday, February 27, 2003, 08:17 GMT
I think it's interesting to mull over the possible changes that could be made with spelling reform, but if it came down to really being in favor of it, I'd have to say no. I'm just too fond of the language as is.
Maria   Thursday, February 27, 2003, 17:30 GMT
A spelling reform is unnecessary as apart from making it harder for native speakers, it would actually make things a whole lots worse! Leave it as it is.

Regarding ise and ize

In British English a verb is usually ISE and the noun ICE.

I advise you to take my advice.
J   Thursday, February 27, 2003, 18:27 GMT
But wot about mee? Ie activli want too luc liec an ilitarat. Ie feel insecyor and ashaimd too spel soa wel.
Jim   Friday, February 28, 2003, 02:52 GMT
Qnd wwot xbqot mii? Ae duu luk laek qn ilitxrxt. Bat wwae fiil insxkyur qnd acqimd tuu spel sxu wel?

Unenforceable, yes. It would be like trying to reform the calander. Thirty days have September, blah, blah, blah, all the rest have thirty-one leaving poor February with too few days and the whole thing in an irregular shambles and we have to memorise this silly poem that doesn't even rhyme.

But it won't change because nobody would agree on whether to change it let alone how. Besides, nobody has the authority to do so. If the decree to reform the language came from the UK, the US would not listen; if it came from the US only Americans would listen; if it came from Australia nobody would listen.

Unnecessary, yes we mostly get by wading through the mess that is English spelling. I wouldn't go so far as to say "we all manage fine". I'm always either misspelling words or having to look them up and sometimes still misspelling them anyway.

Perhaps English would become less interesting in many areas but more interesting in others if it had regular spelling. The mess we've got now tells us a lot about the history of the language. But it is fun to think about how it could be reformed.
spider_mastermind   Sunday, March 02, 2003, 01:37 GMT
It's the English people's language and we English will reform it if, when, and how we see fit. Until then, put up with it or invent a better one of your own.